Thursday, January 13, 2011

Setting a Positive Example for our Children

Guest Post by Bryan Childers:

We get into the fitness industry because of our desire to teach, promote, and educate our chosen craft. I've been very fortunate over the past decade to meet with and network with several influential individuals that are involved in the "Business". One of them, Greg Nielsen, asked me to contribute a blog for his web site and I considered it an honor. Besides our interest in health and fitness, we both share an extreme love and dedication to our children. That is what I want to talk about today. Promoting a healthy lifestyle for our children.

Let's examine some alarming facts. There are nine million youth between the ages of six and nineteen that are considered overweight. Our children spend over four hours a day on computers, cell phones, and watching television. Over twenty-five percent of our youth today have high cholesterol and high blood pressure. In the past several decades, the likelihood for children to be obese has over doubled and almost tripled. Eye opening isn't it? We, as parents, have the ability to stop this trend. Our most important attribute to our children is to provide valuable information and be positive role models. We should educate our children on proper nutrition. Todays' diet, especially among youth, is over-loaded with calories, refined sugars, processed carbohydrates, and saturated fats. We can halt this by offering fruits, vegetables, and other healthier alternatives, all while teaching our children about nutrition, nutrition labels, and how to understand them.

Parents need to take a more head strong approach in being involved with their children, and not promote an unhealthy lifestyle. Instead of buying them a game system, which I like to call an "Electronic Babysitter", plan a family outing that includes a hike. Go to the park for a game of basketball. Ride your bikes together. Anything to promote physical activity. Instead of time consuming sedentary toys, buy a jump rope, hula hoop, or roller blades. All of these promote healthy habits.

The point I'm trying to drive home is this. Be an active part of the solution, not a major contributor to the problem. Ninety percent of active adults will have active children. Have a "Family Meal" where everyone is all together. Introduce an environment without electronic interruptions. Remember when families enjoyed dinner together?

I've seen firsthand what being overweight can do. I grew up an overweight child thanks to an early sports injury. Being overweight caused me to be shy, depressed, and forced me to avoid certain social situations. It was a battle that took me over ten years to claim victory over. It is a situation no child should have to go through.

We, as parents, are a vital link. Exercise and nutrition should be taught to our children. We should emphasize fun and physical activity. Please join me in my personal battle against childhood obesity by education and promoting a healthy lifestyle to the youth of America. Remember, low parental concern about the weight problems in out children will increase their chances of growing up overweight. Take the first step today! Promote a healthy lifestyle...For our childrens' sake!

Bryan Childers CFT, SSC, SFN Elite Fitness Center
Evansville, Indiana
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